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A couple of fun videos that will make you think, but before that, a little bit of context.
Unfortunately, it seems as though stereotypes and common misconceptions are taken for truth more often than not. This statement has never been more true than in consideration of Africa and all of its problems.
We have one predominant image for Africa and that image tends to define the entire continent. We imagine swollen bellies, poverty, and corruption and with those images swirling around in our heads, we make the dangerous assumption that Africa is a homogeneous entity. Rather than the reality, which is that Africa is a vastly diverse continent made up of 54 countries, each comprised of a variety of unique cultures, languages, people, and religions.
This image has stood its ground in the Western hemisphere for far too long and now more than ever, there has been a surge of typically white Westerners fixated with the idea of saving Africa. Photos are plastered all over social media of privileged volunteers in Africa selflessly posing with tons of happy, smiling children.
There are countries in Africa that are home to very serious issues involving disease, corruption, and poverty, but there are also countries that are home to democracy, progressive education, and adequate social systems.
Beyond that, it becomes important to understand the history of colonization and social injustice imposed on African countries by European and Western nations. This understanding is crucial in order to get a full grasp of the politics behind issues such as famine, oppressive regimes, and the overuse of natural resources.
Clumping the entire continent into one single entity is not only ignorant but it also erases the individuality of thousands of different cultural groups.
In an attempt to ironically point out the detrimental effects of misrepresentation, SAIH—Norwegian Students' and Academics' International Assistance Fund—put together a couple of videos.
The two hilarious videos show that it's important to look beyond stereotypes, challenging the common perception most of us are taught in school and in the media. Most importantly, it's essential to get the facts before stepping in and trying to save an entire continent.
The first video, “Who Wants to be A Volunteer?” is a funny spin on the West's obsessive need to race over to Africa to volunteer.
The second video, is about a charity organization called Africa for Norway. In the hope of collecting enough radiators to "warm-up" Norway, the song is spreading the word on Norway's extreme cold weather.